The hiatus of Washington Post fact-checking is almost over

AP Photo/Abbie Parr

It must be a grand gig to be a fact-checker at a place like the Washington Post these days. With Joe Biden in the White House, Democrats in control of both house of Congress for the last two years, there’s really not been much that’s needed tackling, unless it’s someone making a charge against a Democrat. But as an overall workload, this has not been a hard collection of columns to file.

Now that the Republicans have taken over the House and the 2024 presidential cycle is underway, however, business will necessarily heat up as any political point someone on the right makes will need to be fact-checked into oblivion. Conversely, any nonsensical statement made by a vulnerable Democrat running for reelection, chiefly Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, will need to be nuanced from being flat-out false to mostly true if you take in all the considerations.

The President and his team had great political instincts, and for once, the right strategy to go to Ukraine, and then to Poland, to shore up U.S. support against Russia. Of course, it’s too little, too late, which is standard Biden foreign policy on pretty much anything of importance, but the trip was a shrewd one.

The biggest problem with it? Joe Biden is an old man, and he just can’t deliver anymore, despite the press calling him the biggest international hero since Captain America.

So while Biden stumbled his way out of Poland, literally and figuratively, it’s fair to assume that the fact-checking of Biden pandering yet again, morphing his Delaware upbringing to fit the audience, was not subject for review because it’s not kosher to talk bad about the American president while overseas. Biden has repeatedly claimed he got involved in the civil rights movement because of his neighborhood in Delaware being largely black. Until he was in front of a largely Latino audience. Then, his neighborhood was Puerto Rican. Until he was in Warsaw. Then, his neighborhood was either Irish-Catholic or Polish. He was allegedly self-conscious about not having a last name with -SKI or -O on the end. It’s nonsense, and everyone knows it. But you won’t see that dissected by fact-checkers.

Nor will you see the President’s exaggeration of American resolve regarding Ukrainian support across the country. He made this claim.

To be fair, there still is a large amount of support for the Ukrainians against Russia in this current conflict. And yes, there are still Ukrainian flags flying. But the way Biden presents it, it’s as if the resolve here is near-unanimous, and it surely isn’t. It isn’t within the Republican Party, it isn’t within the Democratic Party, and it’s not among Americans as a whole.

Now I’m coming to you as someone who generally supports arming and aiding Ukrainians, because it’s a realistically cheap move in treasure, not American lives, in order to systemically dismantle the military capability of the Russians. I get the national security interests in helping out the Ukrainians. That doesn’t mean I support Ukraine in everything they do. They’re corrupt, and have tended to be anti-Semitic at times. But they’re willing to do the dirty work to weaken Russia, so the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

My viewpoint is not shared by everybody, though. Not by a long shot. I’m not even sure it’s really a majority position in this country. That’s not the way Biden framed it on the international stage, however. Will he be called out on it? Will there be polling and fact-checking to see if that’s a true statement? Doubtful. Now if Biden had made that statement 8 months ago, that viewpoint may have been near-unanimous. But the tide of opinion on Ukraine here has soured over time. The mood of Americans, as inflation continues to sap away at people’s take-home pay, is that we’ve got enough problems at home to take care of without sending a bunch of money and weapons to a country that’s not our problem.

While Biden understandably gets a pass from media scrutiny while on foreign soil, Kamala Harris is here on American terra firma, and she’s still an untapped font of riches for a fact-checker who is an unbiased honest broker.

At the White House Wednesday, the Vice President was addressing home ownership in this country, and what this administration has done to help foster and encourage it. Here’s a sample:

Now there’s nothing factually wrong with what she says here. Home ownership is the American dream. Always has, and always should be. The problem? This is not at all what she, nor most of her fellow Democrats, believe. This administration doesn’t want you to be able to own a gas stove in your kitchen, a gas-powered car in your garage, or a home at all. And their policies have led to precipitous drops in the home ownership rate every year they’re in power.

According to Statista, home ownership hit its historic peak at a little over 69% in 2005 under George W. Bush.

It slid as the economic faltered, and cratered during the Obama-Biden era, plummeting to just 63% by the time Donald Trump took office. The turnaround was immediate, and by the time Trump left office, half of that slide had been recovered. Under the Biden-Harris era, ownership has been relatively stagnant, with a bit of a surge last year to try to catch the housing train before it left the station as interest rates began to rise from their historic lows. Today, interest rates have presented a housing market where first-time homebuyers have to have discovered gold or benefitted from a rich uncle in order to get into a house, and that is if you can even find a house to buy. Sellers have begun to hunker down as well, thinking they’re going to ride out this dip in the market, so the numbers of houses available to buy which would otherwise soften the entry point to ownership haven’t materialized.

Back to Harris, though. She’s saying what she believes the country wants to hear, but totally ignoring what she and Biden have done to make the dream impossible to realize. And she’s saying it as a politician who is trying to get reelected, and then if successful, going right back to making it harder to own a home, because that’s not what they want to see at all. They want high-density housing. They want less private ownership of everything. Their American dream is more government ownership and control. But that’s political theory, not a true fact-check. This next bit, however, there’s no excuse for fact-checkers to turn the other way.

This is just factually not true. Electricity is up a tick under 12% since last year alone. Natural gas is up almost 27% since a year ago, and fuel oil is up just under 28%. The watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher used to have a bit saying women are very good at saving you money buying stuff. Why? Because it’s on sale. They’ll buy something you didn’t need, and then tell you they saved you money because it could have cost more than it ended up costing, because it’s on sale. That’s essentially what Harris is claiming here. She’s trying to take credit for prices that have eased a fraction after emptying out the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, even though the overall price has skyrocketed since inflation took off in 2022. In the Harris mindset, if something costs a buck more than it did, but she shaved a nickel off of that buck increase, she’s brought the cost down 5%. A fact-checker of any repute would say no, you haven’t brought the price down of anything. Costs have gone up $.95 cents on your watch. Four Pinnochios for you.

Fear not. The Ron DeSantis presidential campaign kickoff is just four months away. By then, the Washington Post fact-checking team will be back just like Nixon – tanned, rested, ready.

Trending on HotAir Videos